2015 Dirty Dozen List of Fruits and Vegetables

Clean up your body. Go organic on these foods.

Would you like a side of pesticides with that apple? No? We didn’t think so. Yet residue from pesticides is all too common on the healthy produce we expect to nourish our bodies and minds. We’re sharing the 2015 Dirty Dozen list of fruits and vegetables commonly contaminated with pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization promoting policies that protect health around the globe, published its 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce [1]. It discovered that almost two-thirds of the more than 3,000 samples tested had pesticide residue. What’s more, the study revealed a total of 165 different pesticides among all the samples tested.

It’s important to note the pesticide testing was conducted after the produce had been prepared as it would be in a typical home. For example, prior to testing blueberries were washed and bananas were peeled.

Then the EWG evaluated the results and compiled this Dirty Dozen list based on factors such as the percentage of samples testing positive for pesticides and the number of different pesticides found among these foods.

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

Dirty Dozen PLUS

In addition to the Dirty Dozen list, the EWG has also added Dirty Dozen PLUS foods, which highlights produce contaminated with trace levels of highly dangerous pesticides. This year, it found frequent samples of kale, collard greens, and hot peppers containing insecticides harmful to the human nervous system.

Just Say “Pass” on the Pesticides: Buy Organic

You don’t need to stop eating foods on the Dirty Dozen list. Instead, when it’s possible and when it’s available, choose organic when shopping for these types of produce.

If eating organic isn’t an option—and, let’s face it, organic can be pricier and tough to find sometimes—make sure to rinse the fruits or veggies thoroughly as you gently scrub. It may not remove all traces of pesticides, but it can reduce your exposure.

Learn more about eating organic:

12 Do’s and Don’ts for Going Organic
A Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening  

To start incorporating organic produce into your lifestyle, check out these delish meal ideas:

The Ultimate Clean-Eating Grocery List
10 Flat Belly Breakfast Recipes
10 Lunches in Under 10 Minutes
7 Skinny Dinners Under 299 Calories   


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[1] EWG


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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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